With the considerable success of the St. Mary’s Art Center in Virginia City, it would seem its historic setting is truly inspiring. The four-story brick building, which was built in 1875, was formerly known as the St. Mary Louise Hospital. It was stripped for salvage during World War II and abandoned until 1964, when the pastor of a nearby church proposed that it be renovated into an art center rather than torn down. Since then, St. Mary’s Art Center has offered both lodging and art instruction to and from some very well-known artists. Alterations and restorations began in the 1960s and continue today, keeping the center constantly evolving to accommodate its artists. St. Mary’s is also home to two galleries that showcase a range of artwork from its artists.
The array of class offerings at St. Mary’s includes acrylic, oil, pastel, watercolor, sculpture, photography, etching and other artistic media. The center’s yearly schedule of workshops and retreats offers both new and returning students a fantastic array of artistic pursuits. The expansive building affords students a range of spaces in which to create, including a large upstairs studio, the rolling lawn, the historic town of Virginia City and the surrounding hillside.